Programm                 "Degeneration und Regeneration– Grundlagen, Diagnostik und Therapie"

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Effect of Melatonin on Corneal Endothelial Cell Survival under Oxidative Stress

Wolf A. H., Neubauer A. S., Fuchs A., Priglinger S., Kampik A., Welge-Lüßen U. C.
Augenklinik der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München

Purpose: Human corneal endothelium, embryologically derived from the neural crest, has very limited regenerative capacity. Neurotrophic factors may enhance its survival when exposed to stress such as during eye banking or surgery. Melatonin is not only a neurotransmitter but also a potent antioxidant present in aqueous humor. Purpose of this study was to determine, if melatonin can prevent endothelial cell loss caused by oxidative stress and organ culture storage.
Method: In fresh porcine eyes (16 per conc.) the effect of pretreatment with 0 or 10-6 M to 10-2 M melatonin and stress by hydrogen peroxide (1.4 mM) was investigated by Janus green photometry technique. To further analyze the effect of melatonin in human endothelium, melatonin receptors were identified on human endothelium using rtPCR. In 11 human corneas pretreatment with the most effective melatonin concentrations and acute oxidative stress was studied by live-dead viability cytotoxicity assay. The effect was further characterized by receptor blockage with luzindole. In addition, the long-term effect of melatonin concentrations was studied on 10 paired human corneas stored for 30 days in organ culture.
Results: A protective effect against acute oxidative stress in porcine and human endothelium was maximal at 10-5 and 10-2 M. It can be markedly

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